Monday, September 25, 2006

Y11: A link to the article about consumerism as religion I was talking about on Tuesday- this makes for inteesting reading and you might be able to use it the conclusion to your Equus essay.

I never thought I'd be reading- and recommending that my students read- a sermon from an obscure American preacher, but that's one of the joys of literature: any book will eventually lead you to every book (and if you've got an internet connection, you've got every book in your house!)


Blogger Mr.D said...

Now that the Lump wasn’t actually trying to kill Heck, he didn’t look particularly threatening. Not like the monsters of the streets above. He looked revolting certainly, but not threatening. While the Lump continued to dress his wound with more rags and sodden pads of lavatory paper, Heck perused the whole sorry predicament of his appearance. Beneath the growing bogroll turban, the Lump’s head was the shape and colour of a raw suet dumpling. His bulbous nose was round and knobbly like a raspberry and was near to that colour too, even in the green light of the dustbin Davy lamp attached to his brow. The lamp cast deep shadows under his nose and in his eyesockets, and this, coupled with his general pallor and air of surly insouciance, meant the Lump could have passed for a teenage Goth- had he not been old, bald, blubbery and sat in a sewer pipe, of course.
This ruined head was perched on several chins and a neck which, now that he looked at it properly, took Heck’s breath away. It was simply a mass of scars: there were discreet black wounds in pairs punctuating every inch of flesh, some still weeping blood or pus or both, some with little squares of tissue stuck on them as if they were nicks from shaving. There were also areas of textured scar tissue, bite marks and tear marks, like the crust on a shepherd’s pie. Red threads of poisoned blood radiated from many of the wounds, equal in colour and complexity to a map of the London Underground.
Heck dropped his eyes to the huge, greasy jumper the Lump wore, which looked like it was made of holes knitted together. Under this was a beige shirt with an absract brown print, or a perhaps just a white shirt soaked with filth, it was impossible to determine which. Both these layers were tucked into the Lump’s trousers, which were hitched up to just under his ribs, the cloth stretched so tight over the fat mound of his belly that Heck was put in mind of a steamed pudding wrapped in muslin. The trousers were bordered at the waist by a tightly hitched plastic belt, and from this hung seven or eight bulging carrier bags. Two six-inch lengths of naked ankle poked out of the other end of the trousers, their pasty expanse criss-crossed by webs of little broken veins. A brace of mismatched plimsolls did their best to contain the Lump’s feet, which were so swollen, twisted and plagued with bunions that they looked to Heck like a pair of rubber gloves stuffed with walnuts.
At that, Heck was suddenly aware of how often he thought of food whilst examining the Lump, and with a feint thrill of horror, the reason for it came to him: food is exactly what the Lump was. As evidenced by the fangmarks and bitescars on his neck, the Lump was food for the vampire packs of the impossible city above.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sir, if at all possible, would you be able to point me in the right direction as where to go next with my conclusion, which is turning more in to an essay! I feel like im not actually reaching an end.and imnot sure what i say at the end makes any sense?!cheers.ROBBIE.
:The theme which finds itself present and mandatory to the entire plot and essential to the meaning and perception of Shaffer’s play on stage is Religion. It is what drives Alan’s obsession and worship to the horses which is his own religious equivalent to Christianity, Islam or any other worldly faith, more so in his eyes by far or to a fellow ‘consumer’. But this belief is, from some perspectives, essentially religious consumption. Shaffer seems to be trying to express a point via Equus’s religious theme, that a growing devotion to consumption in society in wanting the best, (which is what they are taught to believe they deserve by the marketing side of society), is forming an entire new and maturing faith known as Consumerism which is ‘consuming’ the public as a whole.

A prime example of practice in this religion from Shaffer’s play is of course Alan who finds his religion in horses, but his father indeed partakes too in his own consumer realism. Completely objecting to religious life and beliefs, he is unaware he himself is part of the cult present in everyone deprived or opposed towards God and the church; he is a devotee of Consumerism, and his path in this belief is partly his definitive political beliefs, but his drive in being a consumerist is largely success, always striving for the best. This can be seen when Frank talks to Dysart about Dora’s over generous, soft attitude towards her son; “she doesn’t care if he can hardly write his own name…As long as he’s happy, she says”. This quote, as discussed earlier, displays Frank’s prominent disapproval on being easy on their sons up-bringing but also implies his eagerness for his son to be successful and be more than he actually is or wants to be, Frank sees it as a requirement to push him to the edge. This strive for success for the ‘heir to the family throne’ is undoubtedly Frank filling the gap in which religion towards God would stand and dominate ambitions and direction in life, and in the process, friction between Alan and his father has developed leading, in a sense, to Alan’s more than unusual yet desperate method of revolt.
This belief Frank follows possibly shows us part of what Shaffer’s thoughts on Consumerism as a religion are, in that success is not the key to life and getting heavily devoted to this particular faith, or perhaps any religion can have adverse effects on the person in the middle..

Alan’s religious attitude towards the horses and isolation from reality is possibly a knock on effect from pressure from both his atheist father and Christian mother. Whereas most parents would determine what if any faith their offspring would follow, if any, Alan is instead split. These opposing forces that Strang feels from his parents are pulling at his beliefs and feelings from either side, repelling each other, thus resulting in him feeling alienated so turns to his own, perhaps, purposely un-categorical form of faith in horses in an act to rebel against his parents mixed outlooks.
English writer and critic G.K Chesterton once stated;
“When people stop believing in God, they do not start believing in nothing. They start believing in anything”
This bears essential symbolic importance to Shaffer’s meaning and purpose of Equus in that once people, (like Frank), banish their beliefs in God, they have the need to fill the void left from this belief with something fulfilling and something to generally find refuge and shelter in. Yet when the person (like Alan) has a choice as to what to follow, (which in a way he does), yet still feels some duty or pressure to the individual choices, they become personally insecure and have the need to find something much better and fulfilling to fill the empty void in their life which can become un-orthodox to show no relevance to the available choices of religion, which can essentially result in a ‘Strang’ mind.

4:38 AM  

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